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Lot 62: Sunbeam-Alpine MKIII Roadster

Cars, H&H Sales Limited (7 December 2011)

Though developed from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90, the Alpine was the first Rootes Group product to wear just the Sunbeam badge. The design was inspired by Rootes friend and Bournemouth-based Sunbeam-Talbot dealer George Hartwell and finalised by Raymond Loewy. Norman Garrad of Rootes's competition department was supposedly responsible for the name, which was in honour of the company's numerous successes on the Alpine Rally. The newcomer found fame at the hands of Works drivers Stirling Moss and Sheila Van Damm and starred in To Catch A Thief, featuring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The Alpine bodies were hand-made by Thrupp & Maberly and the cars were powered by a mildly-tuned version of the 2267cc four-cylinder engine from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90, which gave around 80bhp at 4200rpm. The Alpine was manufactured from 1953 to 1955, during which time some 3,000 were produced, of which relatively few remain - possibly no more than 200. 'RGT 112' is very much in existence. A MKIII model built in 1955, it was originally white but is now finished in Opalescent Silver-Blue with a tan leather interior. For nearly thirty years, it was the property of a gentleman in Wellington prior to its purchase by the Brooklands Motor Company of Weybridge, Surrey. It was evidently then restored by the company's owner, Steve Gray. The previous USA-based custodian purchased the Sunbeam from Gray in April 2009, with the intention of driving it when on vacation in the UK. On assuming ownership, he placed it in the care of marque specialist Martin Spurrell, who was told to review the whole vehicle and "restore any sub-systems which might compromise reliability and general function, or were not at a comparable level to the body/chassis restoration done by Brooklands". This work reportedly comprised: the removal and fettling of the engine, transmission, heating/cooling/fuel systems; new weather equipment, radial tyres (in the correct period size), brightwork, electrics and interior trim. Additionally, modifications were made to help increase reliability and safety while touring - a set of colour-matched, three-point retracting seatbelts were custom made and installed by Quick Fit SBS; an auxiliary electric fuel pump installed as per the 1955 works rally cars; a secondary 12 volt power point was added to support mobile phones and GPS units; period-correct reproduction fog and driving lights were installed. The full list of more recent refurbishment on this stunning-looking Sunbeam is far too long to chronicle here. The previous keeper's stated aim in commissioning the improvements to 'RGT 112' was that "it should be capable of being driven anywhere throughout the UK or Europe, in any weather, without fear of overheating or breakdown". Since entering the current ownership via our December 2010 auction the Alpine has done just that covering some 500 - 1,000 trouble free miles on both sides of the English Channel. Only being offered for sale due to a rationalisation of the vendor's collection, this delightful Sunbeam has recently been MOT tested and has a certificate valid until September 2012.

Lot Details
Auction Cars
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens
TypeCar
Lot Number62
Estimate£28000-£35000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£33000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1955
Condition rating
Registration numberRGT 112
Mileage-
Chassis numberA3501925ODHRO
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)2267
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2